Disney’s Magic in Norway – Bergen

Bergen-sceneryOn Thursday, June 11th, we arrived at our final port of call, Bergen.  All ashore time was scheduled for 7:45 am and we were to be back aboard by 5:15 pm.  Our family intended to make the most of the time we had in this incredible city!  Of all the things we’d done and the amazing places we’d visited on this vacation, Bergen was my favorite port.

We were up, had eaten breakfast in Cabanas, and were waiting at our assigned group meeting area in Fathom’s for the day’s excursion:  Walking tour of Bergen (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with a visit to both the Hanseatic Museum and the overlook on Mount Floyen. Bergen-Ship-in-Harbor Bergen-Norway-Waterfront Bergen-Norway Bergen-Norway-Buildings We love history and Bergen has wonderfully well-preserved buildings dating back to the 18th Century in the Bryggen area of the wharf.Bergen-tour-guide

Our group headed off the Magic and found our guide, Elena, waiting for us on the dock.  Elena, originally from St. Petersburg and married to a Norwegian, was cheerfully enthusiastic and full of interesting facts about Bergen’s past and present.  She was a wonderful guide and took time to answer questions and make sure everyone had plenty of time to take pictures of all the amazing things we saw that morning.  Bergen-TowerWe walked from the ship to the museum, stopping along the way to learn about Bergen, which was originally founded on a Viking settlement in 1070.  We walked past the Bergenhus Fortress and Rosenkrantz Tower and learned about Bergen’s medieval history before making our way to the Hanseatic Museum.  Bergen-Hanseatic-Museum-ExteriorHere we were able to see how the German merchants who ran the sea trade in Bryggen lived and worked.  One building,  Finnegården, originally owned by merchant J. W. Olsen, gives visitors an excellent look at living and working conditions during Bryggen’s heyday.  Bergen-Hanseatic-Museum3 Bergen-Hanseatic-Museum2 Bergen-museum-old-photo Bergen-museum-seals If you’re into history, this place is incredible!  Norwegian fishermen supplied the stock fish for the merchants, cod being the most popular.  The fish, once dried, had a shelf-life of 4-5 years and was shipped all over Europe.  Cod liver oil and other fish products were also produced. Bergen-Hansiatic-Museum1 Bergen-Museum-artifacts

Moving on from the museum, we walked a short distance to the building where we would catch the funicular to Mount Floyen and end our tour with a spectacular view of Bergen.  The crowds were heavy and Elena did her best to keep us entertained while we waited for our turn to board the funicular.  Bergen-funicular-viewBergan-to-Mt.-FloyenThis enclosed tram runs up and down the mountain all day and is a popular mode of transportation for the people who live on Mount Floyen as well as tourists.  The view was spectacular, but it was cold and windy on that mountain!  Thanking Elena, we headed back down to Bergen to find the fish market and lunch!Bergen-View-from-Mt-Floyen

This was such a treat!  At the fish market, customers can check out the different vendors’ fresh fish, select a meal combination, and wait at a patio table for the selected fish to be cooked and served.  Bergen-fishmarket-counter Bergen-fishmarket-selectionThe choices were amazing!  Cod, shrimp, whale steaks, oysters, crabs, salmon, and much more – cooked while you wait.  Our seafood was served with potato salad, a green salad, and a couple of slices of rye bread.  Bergen-fishmarket-display Bergen-fishmarket-seatingWe ordered what our server called “light beer” (due to the low alcohol content street vendors are restricted to serving) to enjoy with our meal.  As we placed our orders with the sweet young lady at the counter, she had one question for our family, “Are you from the Disney ship?” When we told her we were indeed sailing on the Magic, she wanted to know what was a Disney ship? We had fun explianing it to her!  Bergen-fishmarket-tableI feel terrible for not taking a picture of our food for you!  One minute we were waiting for our meal, then the server brought our plates, and the next thing I knew, I was scraping up the very last bit of potato salad with my last bite of bread.  Delicious!!!Bergen-Street

Until reaching Bergen, we really hadn’t done much shopping for souvenirs.  Fortified by our excellent lunch, we had plenty of time to explore Bergen’s shops – and explore we did!  The shopping in Bergen was really fantastic – we were glad we’d waited.  (No, we didn’t purchase any Disney dolls, but there were plenty to choose from!)  Bergen-Window-Shopping Bergen-shopping-area Bergen-Moose-Leather-shopCraftsmen and artists had workshops attached to small shops selling everything from jewelry to moose-leather goods.  We shopped in antique stores, Christmas stores, clothing boutiques and the artists’ shops.  Bergen-manhole-cover Bergen-cobblestones

Dried Fish Statue

Dried Fish Statue

Megan and Joseph went one way and Raymond and I another – we had as much fun exploring as we did picking out our souvenirs and even had time to relax over beers in an Irish pub.  When we found the giant dried fish statue, we were able to tell some puzzled tourists what it was and its significance to Bergan’s history.  Bergen-Irish-Pub Bergen-Pub-interiorOn the way back to the ship, I stopped trying to resist the lure of the bakeries!  Megan and I selected treats to munch on while we walked.  Bergen-bakeryI can tell you this:  Skolebrod (School bread) in Norway is incredible!!!  Dense, moist, loaded with custard and generously sprinkled with coconut, it was the perfect snack and a wonderful way to end the day.Bergen-Skolebrod-wrapper Bergen-Skolebrod

Ahead of us that evening would be the Freezing the Night Away deck party and the next day would be our last at-sea day – our vacation was winding down, but we felt like we were getting to see and do so much fun stuff!!!  I’ll be back to let you know how we ended this fabulous vacation.  Thanks for reading!DCL-Frozen-Menu

As always, if you have any quesions about this trip (or any of our other ones), I’ll be happy to tell you what I can.

Links to the other parts of this trip report:



Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen (Part 1)

Flying-to-CopenhagenAs promised when I posted this overview of our family’s experience on Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural sailing through the fjords of Norway, today’s post begins at the beginning – to cover the trip in greater detail.  The cruise sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, where we arrived the day before as early in the morning as we could manage, in order to maximize our time to explore this beautiful city which happens to have fascinating Disney connections!

We took a few hops to get to Denmark – Jackson, Mississippi to Houston to Toronto to Copenhagen.  We left Jackson at around 9:00 am Thursday and arrived in Copenhagen at around 10:30 am the next day.  We knew we’d arrive jetlagged, but vowed to try to minimize it as much as possible by drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest, and moving around frequently.  Personally, I was exhausted before our plane even took off, so I wore a maxi dress over (to hide) a pair of compression/sports-recovery tights to improve circulation in my legs and, once we changed planes in Toronto, I slept nearly the entire 8 hours to Copenhagen.  My ankles were swollen when we landed, but not nearly as bad as the last time we flew to Europe and I was feeling great and actually well-rested as our single day in Copenhagen began.


Bus from the Copenhagen Airport

We were greeted promptly in baggage claim by a smartly dressed Disney Cast Member who sized us up and asked if we were the Green Family – saying our first names carefully and welcoming us to Denmark.  Our luggage showed up immediately to be piled onto carts by two very kind young men and, in short order, we were all whisked off to our virtually empty, but extremely deluxe motor coach.  This wasn’t unusual – everyone we dealt with in every place we visited was extraordinarily professional and pleasant.  All spoke perfect, nearly accent-free English.  Oh, and the busses were really clean and new – some with actual tables surrounded by seats.  All with drop-down tray tables – which came in very handy!


View from Tivoli Hotel

The weather was good.  A bit chilly and breezy, but no rain.  After a fairly short ride, we arrived at the Tivoli Hotel, booked through Disney Cruise Line (as were the transfers to and from the airport), and found that one of our rooms was ready.  Tivoli-Hotel-ExteriorTivoli-Hotel-Room Tivoli-Hotel-Bathroom We took our luggage up to the sixth floor, changed clothes, cleaned up a bit, checked our street map and were ready to explore and, importantly, find a spot for lunch.  We didn’t order Danish currency (Krone) prior to arrival, having read that it would be more economical to use our debit card at one of the plentiful ATMs to get necessary cash.  Easy and convenient – an ATM was very close to the hotel.  Everything we wanted to see was within walking distance of the Tivoli Hotel…if you’re ever going to Copenhagen, we recommend it!  Even the view from our room, which we had no time to really enjoy, was very nice.

We’d decided, based on our excellent experience in Barcelona (prior to sailing on the Magic in the Mediterranean in 2013) that we’d book a Segway tour if Copenhagen had a company that offered one.  Sure enough, through a quick internet search months ago, we found and booked a 4:00 pm, two-hour tour with Segway Tours Copenhagen.  For $69 per person, this was an excellent value.  We generally do not enjoy seeing new places from behind the window of a car or bus – we want to feel like we’re part of the action while learning as much as possible.  The other thing we thought would be a “must-do” in Copenhagen was visiting Tivoli Gardens, so we pre-purchased all-inclusive tickets that bundled park entry, all-ride access, aquarium entry, and a meal for about $75 per person.


Bryggeriet = The Brewery

Somehow, having a solid plan – have lunch, locate the Hard Rock Café (we always try to find one and buy pins wherever we go), take the Segway tour, then hit Tivoli Gardens for the evening – helps keep you going when you’ve been traveling for 24 hours.  We’d packed lots of layers for the chilly weather and, ATM cash in hand and properly bundled up, we found an outdoor café that advertised burgers as the specialty.


Waiting for lunch to arrive.

Probably, we should have ordered those burgers, but once I mentioned trying the smorrebrod (traditional Danish open-faced sandwich) to experience the flavors of Copenhagen more fully, everyone else followed suit.  I’ve been kicking myself for forgetting to take pictures of our lunch ever since.  On our plates we were served several separate food combinations and plain bread on which to build our smorrebrod.  On the left side of the plate was a folded slice of beef and some pickled vegetables in sauce.  In the middle of the plate was a large piece of salmon with sauce.  On the right side of the plate was a small ceramic bowl of pâté, which appeared completely unappetizing, but tasted great.  On the upper left side of the plate was a piece of cheese.  I know there’s a very particular order in which all the items on the plate should have been consumed, but we did the best we could, with the pickiest among us avoiding the flavors they just couldn’t manage.  By the look of our plates “after”, you can see that hunger won out over any new-food apprehension we might have been feeling.  Some delicious beer completed our meal.After-Lunch-Copenhagen

Fortified, we were off to find the Hard Rock Café.  Along the way we noticed a 7-Eleven and a Burger King – two chains that would prove to be extremely popular in both Copenhagen and most of the ports we visited in Norway.  Copenhagen-on-FootWe noticed a small grocery story called Irma near the café so we decided, with time to spare, that we’d get the Hard Rock pins and pick up some bottled water and wine (for the cruise) at Irma, run all that back to the hotel and then find our Segway tour location. Crowded-Copenhagen Streets-of-Copenhagen

So far, the day was going perfectly!  Copenhagen was easy to navigate on foot, we’d gotten oriented, the weather was fine, our bellies were full and we’d procured beverages for the cruise.  Up next?  Our Segway Tour of Copenhagen.

Cruising Disney’s Magic in the Mediterranean – At Sea

The Coast of Italy as Seen from the Disney MagicThis is part 9 of a series.  Links to the rest of the trip report may be found at the very bottom of this post.

The last day of our cruise (Friday, August 16th) was a very special day…Megan’s 23rd birthday!  It was particularly great that this was an at-sea day – we could take it easy and help Megan celebrate; quite a change from the previous four super-busy days.  We had the opportunity to sleep in a little later before getting ready for our Palo Brunch.

I’d brought along a Disney princess birthday banner to decorate with and a sparkly tiara for Megan to wear on her special day.  Raymond and I had also stopped by one of the gift shops and picked up a Belle scepter and some pins for our princess.  The gift shop Celebrating a Birthday on a Disney CruiseCast Member put everything in a nice gift bag for us, which we dropped off at Palo mid-morning (so our server could bring it to our table later as a surprise).   At 11:00, we all met for brunch.  I carefully put Megan’s tiara on her head and wished her a happy birthday – her reaction was everything I’d hoped for.  She did not take off her tiara all day!

Once again, Sylvester was our server (as requested) and, in honor of her birthday, Sly helped Megan select a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate – Megan decided on the Banfi Rosa Regale – a sparkling rose with hints of strawberry and raspberry – which was so delicious, we had Birthday Celebration on the Disney Magicto find it again once we got home!  Sylvester also presented Megan with a plate containing a birthday message written in chocolate!  Brunch at Palo is nothing like dinner.  There are several buffet stations and also a full menu of made-to-order dishes.  The atmosphere is lighter and the diners seem much more focused on the food (and the experience of tasting and enjoying many different things) at brunch than at dinner.  And oh, what food!  Caviar, seafood, salads, cold vegetables, breads, cheeses, Danish, sweet rolls, and all manner of desserts make up the buffet.  The menu offers delicious flatbreads (a Palo specialty) and several entrees, many featuring eggs/breakfast-like items.  As we ate, the ship was passing between Sardinia and Corsica, which made for stunning views from Palo’s plentiful windows.  This time, our meal did not, thankfully, last three hours.  We were finished a little before one and Raymond and I went our way and Megan, Grant, Joseph, and Jason went theirs.Relaxing at Sea on the Disney Magic

Knowing the Magic was about to go into dry dock for some major changes, Raymond and I had wanted to take a tour to see the ship one last time in her original form.  Checking our Navigator for the day, we found a tour was scheduled at 4:15 – we could tell the original Magic good-bye and take some pictures to remember her by.

Between brunch and the ship tour, we spent a leisurely afternoon, sadly beginning to pack our suitcases.  We would find out later that the birthday girl and her entourage made the most of their time with shopping, character meetings, and enjoying the special attention that accompanies onboard celebrations.

Original Chandelier on the Disney MagicAt the appointed time, we met for our Art of the Theme Show Tour with a very small group – one group member left our guide scrambling for a minute to find a Spanish-speaking Cast Member to go along with us and translate.  Mission accomplished and we were off.  We knew some of the facts and figures about the magic simply from having sailed on her before, but the guide was interesting and told us quite a few new things about the history of the Magic and her sister ship, the Wonder.

The highlight of the tour for me was seeing the seam where the Magic, constructed in two halves, had finally been assembled into one vessel.  I had no idea that, in order for the Magic and Wonder to be twins, the Wonder has a tattoo of sorts – a pretend seam painted on her in the exact same place as on the Magic.  The Wonder had not been made in two separate pieces and was missing that small detail.  This The Disney Magic's Seam - two halves joinedone small thing, that honestly NO one would notice or care about, is a perfect example of what makes Disney Cruise Line the absolute best cruise experience for guests of all ages.

Dinner that evening was pretty sad.  We were in Lumiere’s – parting company with our servers and trying not to think about the long plane trip ahead of us.  That night’s show was Disney Dreams – one of our favorites!  Due to the time of our flight (very early), we would not be leaving our luggage outside our rooms, but would carry it off with us in the morning to save time in the port terminal.  This made our last evening a lot less frantic without the usual mad packing to get our luggage out in the hall while keeping everything we would need to get ready the next morning.  While Raymond and I were drifting off to sleep, Megan, Grant, Joseph and Jason were squeezing every last drop of fun out of our trip that they possibly could by attending the “Til We Meet Again” 'Til We Meet Again on the Disney Magicfarewell party in the Lobby Atrium and having a wonderful time!

I’ll do one final post in this report to sum it all up, consolidate links, and give some tips you may find helpful.  If you have any questions, please ask away!



Links to all the other parts of the trip report:Princesses on Disney Cruise Line


Disney Cruise Line Character Interactions Meeting Princesses on a Disney Cruise